Sunday, June 27, 2010

Missionary Moments

June Joyful Happenings

Today these four new members received the Aaronic Priesthood in the new Leribe Twig. The Twig now has seven members and growing. Pres. Monesa went with us from the Maseru Branch to interview and ordain. He was thrilled with the testimonies and depth of each these young men.
This was the total attendance at church today. The first day for our church sign.
Saturday at Masianokeng Branch teaching Seminary, Institute and the English Class.

Johannesberg Temple - Lucky, Zoma and Prince Mhkize from Madadini were Sealed. We attended temple with Masianokeng Branch and were blessed to have Madadini and Osizweni from our prevous area there also. Needless to say it was more than exciting. We so love and miss everyone in first area.

Pres. Mann's Last Zone Conference in Bloemfountein. All the Elder's are ready to play soccar after a wonderful meeting. We are privileged to serve again with Elder's from Newcastle, Madadani and Osizweni.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Leribe Baptism

This is the group of four people that were baptized on May 30 in Leribe. They just opened this area to missionaries about 3 months ago. It is one of our "twigs".
here are all of the people that attended the baptism except the missionaries. You can tell by the coats that it was still fairly cold outside. The font was filled with a garden hose and the water was cold. People were shaking as they got out of the font.


This is what it looks like in Lesotho. Notice the child on the donkey. He is wrapped in a blanket (much more common to see than the coats the other two children are wearing. Donkeys are used for transportation or are used to pull a cart (usually the trailer of a pickup). Oxen are also used to pull a cart. This is a sand stone quarry that we passed. There are two women washing their clothes in the stream in the distance and there are some cattle moving up the stream. The people are always neatly dressed (especially the women) and the women almost always wear dresses.
This is the sand stone quarry called the Lesotho Stone. They are chiseled out of the quarry by hand and shaped by workers at the site and hauled to the company site to be sold. Barbara is standing with two other senior missionaries by where we stopped to take the pictures.

June 8, 2010

Well this month has been full of changes and saying goodbye to some wonderful friends that we have grown to love. We have been transferred from Newcastle to Ladybrand. We still live in South Africa but we are about 15 Kilometers away from the border crossing to Maseru, Lesotho. This is the capital of the nation of Lesotho and it is where the King and Parliament reside. Elder & Sister Van Blankenstein had a farewell where many of the nation dignitaries were invited. There were about 66 people in attendance, including the King and some of the Government Ministers. It was a very nice gathering in which the Church was introduced and there was a review of what the Church has done for Lesotho. Mom and I spoke for a few minutes. This occurred on May 6. We didn’t move in permanently until May 14. Ladybrand is a small town (around 17,000) and we are isolated from all of the other Missionaries where we lived very close to the missionaries in Newcastle. We miss the close interaction with them. Now we cook a dinner and carry it to the 8 missionaries when we DDM (District Development Meeting) that we have on Monday at 6:00 pm in Maseru. We have another District of missionaries that meet on Thursday at 10:30 in Harrismith (about 3 hours away). We go to both DDM’s when we can. We have 14 missionaries that we support and help in any way that we can but we have to travel a good ways to get to them. We have 3 branches that we support and 2 “twigs”. These are also spread over the same distances so we leave early on Sunday to help out where we can.

Ladybrand gets down to about -4 C (about 28 degrees Fahrenheit) but it gets up to around 65 degrees in the day. We are at about 5,200 ft. elevation.

We have been asked to teach a computer class (actually 2 of them) for older people that have never used the computer before. We teach them on Monday and Wednesday for an hour. We are also teaching the Branch Presidency and the Branch Clerk how to use the Church’s MLS system. All of this is being done for the Maseru Branch. We are teaching an English Class on Saturday and that is followed up by an Institute & Seminary Class for Masianokeng Branch. We will probably be doing more with Masianokeng because they are smaller and need more help. We are still trying to see what we need to do for Leribe “Twig”. They baptized four people on May 30 and another person on June 5 and confirmed all 5 on June 6. That brings their membership up to 7. They have 16 people scheduled for baptism on June 27 – this ought to be a cold baptism outside.

We are getting settled but things are going a little slower here than in Newcastle but we are sure that they will pick up. The Branches seem to be functioning well and that takes some load off of us as Senior Missionaries. We dearly miss all the wonderful people we were working with in Newcastle, Madadeni and Osizweni. We hope to see some of them at the Johannesburg Temple on June 19th. We feel like we left home “Newcastle” to come on another mission.